Everything you need to know about motorcycle tyre pressure

Safety is paramount when riding a motorcycle and you can't ride safely unless the tyre pressure is correct. The tyres are the only part of your motorbike in contact with the road, and it's the air inside, not the tyre itself, that bears the combined load of rider and bike.

Different motorbikes have different recommended values. What’s more, motorbikes only have 2 tyres, and it’s the curved road contact that allows your bike to tilt efficiently on turns and corners – so tyre maintenance and upkeep is critical.

How often should you check and how should you do it? At Halfords, we know our tyres and those are the questions this article is going to answer. We'll also provide a quick guide to the difference overinflated and underinflated tyres can make. Let's start by discovering what your bike's tyre pressure should be.

How to Find Your Motorcycle's Recommended Tyre Pressure

Generally speaking, motorbikes have a recommended pressure of between 28 and 40 psi, but every model's precise recommendations are different. Never settle for guesswork, but always consult the manual for your specific bike, and look out for the different front and rear values. The advised psi is often featured on the bike itself—usually on the swingarm or hugger.

How to Check and Inflate Your Motorcycle Tyre Pressure

With your safety in mind, motorbike tyre pressure needs to be checked more frequently than on a four-wheeled vehicle. The procedure to check your motorcycle tyre pressure is as follows:

  • Remove the valve cap
  • Check that the gauge is set to zero
  • Press the gauge down over the valve
  • Listen for the hiss of escaping air—it means the gauge is incorrectly set
  • Check the reading on the gauge, adjust the pressure if necessary, then re-check

Because you need to check your pressure so regularly, and because accuracy is so vital, it’s best not to rely on service stations. Their gauges are often poorly maintained and therefore inaccurate. Investing in your own reliable tyre pressure gauge is a much better idea. A digital gauge will stay accurate for longer, so it’s worth paying the small additional cost.

How Often Should I Check Motorcycle Tyre Pressure?

Once every two weeks is the general rule, and even more frequently if you've been racking up the mileage or riding on rough terrain.

Finally, always check tyre pressure when the tyres are cold and when your bike is in the shade. After a journey or in bright sunlight, the tyres will be hot, causing a misleading reading.

What About Motorcycle Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems?

Many modern motorcycles have their own TPMS fitted as standard. If a system is not included, they're simple to install. However, the systems are not entirely reliable, so keep checking your tyre pressure manually as well.

What if your TPMS warning light starts flashing? You can carry on riding, but take extra care—and get your tyres checked as soon as possible. Get the full facts in our handy Halfords guide to TPMS (written for car owners but still relevant for bikers).

Do Motorcycle Models Differ in Tyre Pressure?

Every make and model of motorcycle is different in many ways, including shape, size, weight, and engine type. Another of those differences is the tyre pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Always check the relevant manual for the precise tyre pressure advised for your model.

Remember, too, that the motorcycle tyre pressure front and rear recommendations can vary. For example, Harley Davidson recommends 36 pounds per square inch (psi) at the front and 40 psi for the rear tyre.

Does Cubic Capacity Have an Effect on Tyre Pressure?

CC stands for cubic capacity and measures the power output of the motorbike's engine. The higher the CC, the more powerful the bike. There's no direct correlation between engine power and tyre pressure, so the best advice is to stick to the tyre pressure recommended by the manufacturer and stated clearly in the manual. However, the more powerful the motorcycle, the more important it is to be in control when riding. So, a high CC makes it even more important to make sure your bike's tyre pressure is correct at all times.


All tyres are affected by the ambient temperature, and motorcycle tyres can be even more susceptible to changes in the weather because they are more exposed. Heat increases air pressure and cold lowers it, so always check your motorcycle tyre pressure when the tyres are cool. Explore more about the way weather and temperature affect tyres.

When tyre pressure's too high, the tyres are too hard with less "give". A smaller patch of rubber is in contact with the road as a result. You'll feel the difference as soon as you move off. Expect poor handling and a rough ride, making the motorcycle trickier to control. The overinflated tyres absorb less of the impact when you ride over a bump, so you absorb it in the seat of your pants instead.

The tyres also wear out faster, especially in the middle of the tread, because the wear is focused on a smaller area of the tyre surface. Furthermore, the bike's suspension system is engineered to work with tyres at the correct pressure. Overinflation upsets this fine balance, adding to the roughness of the ride and lack of control.

Low tyre pressure is a more common problem for all vehicles including motorbikes. Air molecules inevitably start escaping from any tyre as soon as it has been pumped up. Tyres lose around one psi per month in this way. Other factors also affect tyre pressure, including the air temperature. The colder it is, the lower the psi.

Underinflation makes tyres too soft. The contact patch is bigger than it should be as a result. You'll experience this as a feeling of sluggishness, almost as if you're riding with the brakes on. A lack of precision in steering is another symptom. Under-pressured tyres also run hotter than they should, increasing wear and heightening the risk of delamination or a blowout.